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Tickets on sale for annual Sanibel Blues and Jazz Fest

By Staff | Oct 9, 2018

The Sanibel-Captiva Optimists Club will host its Sanibel Blues and Jazz Fest in November.

Pioneered in 2016, the annual fundraiser helps to raise money for the club’s charitable endeavors, including six college scholarships and summer programs at the Sanibel Recreation Center for youth.

This year’s festival will take place on Nov. 4 from noon to 7 p.m. in the backyard of the Bailey’s Center, at the corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road. Once again featuring award-winning musicians, the lineup will consist of a mix of returning artists and new performances, including:

– Florida Gulf Coast University Jazz Ensemble

The Florida Gulf Coast University Jazz Ensemble is gradually becoming one of the top collegiate ensembles and has been featured at the Landings Music Festival and Sanibel Blues and Jazz Festival. The ensemble performs a variety of styles pertaining to the jazz idioms. The FGCU Jazz Combo is a small chamber group composed of the top players in the school and performs for various campus events, including the Celebration of Excellence Ceremony.

– Johnny Jensen

The local talent began drumming at the age of 4. Johnny Jensen, an island native, discovered the guitar four years ago and counts Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton among his musical influences. He practices his craft locally at his family’s Captiva resort and the Fort Myers Music Walk, held monthly in the city’s historic River District. In 2017, Jensen was the opening act for the Sanibel festival, later playing with headliners and Hall of Famers Elvin Bishop and Matt Schofield.

– Marty Stokes Band

The local band performs in clubs around Florida. The Marty Stokes Band has competed in the annual IBC competitions and placed in both the South Florida and Suncoast Blues Societies, winning the Peoples’ Choice Award in the 2013 and 2014 competitions and winning the 2016 IBC for Southwest Florida’s best band, as well as 2016 People’s Choice Award.

– JP Soars

Receiving an encore performance from the 2016 festival, JP Soars is not a typical blues guitarist. He has a diverse musical background that encompasses a multitude of influences. Soars toured the globe and recorded several records with some of the most extreme metal bands in the world before finding his home in the blues.

– Kenny Neal

Born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge, Kenny Neal began playing music at a young age and is known as a modern swamp-blues and multi-instrumentalist who draws from the sizzling sounds of his native Louisiana. Neal has won many awards and was nominated three times for a Grammy, the most recent for Best Contemporary Blues Album. He also won two Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Album and Best Contemporary Male Blues Artist.

– Jam session featuring all of the participating performers

Ticket donations are $40 for general admission and $125 for VIP.

There are a limited number of tickets, which can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com by searching for “Sanibel Blues & Jazz Fest,” or from Bailey’s General Store, Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, George and Wendy’s Seafood Grille and day of at the entrance to the festival.

VIP admission includes reserved seating and parking, an event T-shirt, meet the bands, raw and champagne bar, food and beverages. General admission ticket-holders are reminded to bring their own seats; fine food and a range of beverages, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase.

No outside food or beverages may be brought onto the festival grounds.

Parking will be available at The Community House, Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, SunTrust Bank and the Sanibel U.S. Post Office with shuttle service available to the festival. Additional parking will be available at the Bank of America across from the festival for those holding VIP tickets.

Handicap parking will be available at Bailey’s, with Special Valet Bicycle Parking on site.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/SanibelBluesandJazzFestival.